1. The Stone Age in and around Coventry.
We already know that people of the late Neolithic were grinding flour and baking bread at Ryton on Dunsmore when the stones of Stonehenge were being erected, because a same-style flint arrowhead to those found at Durrington Walls was discovered on the site.
It was while perusing my map of Coventry that I noticed an unmarked circle, perhaps a settlement, on land owned by Alton Hall farm, to the northwest of Allesley Village. Explorer Map 221 SP2890 8207. I also noticed that this circle was found to be in-line with a ring ditch that was mentioned in the CADAS publication "Stepping into the past: Historical walks in Allesley, Coundon & Keresley." This booklet mentions several more prehistoric find-spots, and they all seem to form a line on the coming Major Standstill of the moon and what might have been perceived by early folk as a 'notch' at the right-hand end of the above picture. This notch is even more obvious when viewed from the other side - see picture three.
Allesley: A little version of Dorset's Cranborne Chase?
We have covered the Dorset Cursus elsewhere on this site and understand its attraction to early folks for the way glacial meltwater sculpted the land into several parallel valleys and flat ridges across which people ran the cursus to give it its alignments on the sun and moon.
Whilst not suggesting that the less pronounced valleys to the west of Allesley village were sculpted by glaciers - although possible - these ridges were equally appealing to early folks, as was the chase.
My first picture is of the area where this settlement might have been, together with the level ridge that runs from the City Hill Hotel (seen on extreme left) to Pickford on the right. We know that nettles are are good indicator of settlement, and this whole area is covered in them. The next photo looks back from the other side of this ridge, albeit to where the ridge comes to an end at Pickford.
2. A map of Allesley CP. Text to follow
3. A chance meeting with a rambler told me that archaeologists have recently excavated this foreground in advance of a housing estate. Since then, archaeologists have been back to strip what looks like most of it! I have no idea what archaeologists have or have not found, other than a few Roman artefacts. So work for another day! What I do know is that the northernmost moon will be seen to set in late 2024 just to the right of the most distant pylon and where the ridge begins to fall off in height.
The busy A45 is just beyond the tree-line. Some lorries parked in a layby can be seen through the trees.
Note the pylon on the left, it is not on the moonset line, but that is where the next picture was taken from.
4. The previous picture failed to make it clear that it was taken from the top of another ridge that also would appeal to early folks. The above picture should put things right. X marks the spot where the previous picture was taken from, and where archaeologists have been digging.
The green coloured line marks the path of the Pickford brook as it makes its way to join the River Sherbourne.
The archaeological investigations in the area marked by the X, and in front of it, are in preparation for a brand new housing estate. Please do not ask me what I think of the idea.
Although it's doubtful if I shall ever see the lorry driver again, grateful thanks are extended to him for allowing me to climb into his cab to get this picture.
5. Having entered the fields from Eastern Green as directed in the CADAS booklet, we make our way back to the entrance, and take a photograph of the level ridge that is Eastern Green. The trees mark the line of another branch of the Pickford Brook.
Somewhere in this field a ring ditch was discovered by aerial photography, and was proved prehistoric by the artefacts found by C.H.E.P. (Coventry Historic Environment Project) while field-walking.
6. Inspired by the CADAS booklet "Stepping Into The Past," which tells of Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age settlements to the northwest of Coventry - from Keresley to Eastern green. Here we describe a line that points to where the southernmost moon will set in late 2024.
We start by parking alongside the sharp bend in Fivefield Road, which is found at point six, walk 4, of the CADAS booklet.
Enter the field via the gate and climb the hill almost up to Bensons Wood.
7. Bunson's Wood. Bounded by banks and ditches, both inside and out, this wood is crying out for further investigation. Particularly a LIDAR scan.
8. This picture is taken from the footpath leading up to Bunsons Wood, and from where the previous photo was taken.
This photo looks through a gap in the hedge towards the Iron Age Hillfort built on top of Corley rocks. This picture should help you know where we are. More importantly, this view looks over Hounds Hill to where many more prehistoric flint tools have been found and which marks the start of the moon alignment.
We can now turn around and find our way back down to the gate... but not quite.
9. Aerial photography from Google Earth suggests that this field contains a pair of double ring-ditches. The land in which these ring ditches lie was acquired by Queens College, Oxford, sometime around the years 1510 to 1529, but why Queens College should want to own it, is anyone's guess. The CADAS booklet says that this land is private property, and suggests we do not trespass.
I have drawn a white line to mark the southernmost setting moon-line, which comes down from Hounds Hill where Mesolithic flint was found. From Hounds Hill, the southernmost moon would set beneath what is now the Tamworth Road. Then from the Tamworth Road, and always having to assume some tree clearance, early folks could have watched the moon as she set beneath the ridge that follows the A45, by viewing it over the Sherborne valley.